People walking through the heart of Milan Tuesday morning came across quite the sight. They saw a crowd gathered around the scene of a car accident. But this crowd included emergency workers, sailors, and a sea captain. This was because, as they slowly realized, a large submarine had burst up from under the pavement, causing the mayhem. Or so it would appear. Once they hung around for a couple minutes however, their confusion turned to eye-rolling. They realized that the whole ordeal was nothing but extreme advertising. In fact, the whole scene was staged by Life Park, an Italian insurance company. The incident proceeded to explode across social media in Italy.
One might argue that this is very effective advertising. After all, Life Park has certainly received a lot of attention. And, sure it's all in good fun. But how far is too far?
Advertising seems to surround people in their daily lives and, apparently, companies must resort to more and more extreme tactics to gain the crowded attention of consumers. But is there no limit to how intrusive advertising ought to be? One must wonder how residents of Milan reacted when they realized that their government rented out a taxpayer-funded street all so that a company could make more Euros. Has corporate culture not created a spectacle from which it is very difficult to escape? Has the sense of reality been co-opted in the name of consumerism? Or, is this just business as usual?